ONE

Champions of Extraordinary Marriages

7 Days to an On Fire Marriage January 4, 2010

Filed under: marriage,Romance — Tony & Alisa @ 9:55 am
Tags: , , , ,

Each of us desires to be more romantic in our marriage.  You may be in a loving relationship, but you don’t know the first thing about how to romance from the heart. Sure, you can say, “I love you,” just fine, but all those wonderful, romantic ideas just seem to escape you.

Start 2010 on the right foot with you beloved.  Below are 18 ideas that you can do to for your spouse over the next 7 days to set your marriage On Fire.  You can simply follow these 18 ideas or you can adapt the suggestions below to your own nature.   Either way, you will be well on your way to being the true romantic!

Day 1:

1. Leave a note professing your love for your partner to find during the day. Put the note where it will be found, easily. Try their briefcase, the driver’s seat of their car, in their coat pocket, in their lunch bag, taped to the receiver of the phone, taped to their computer, or left taped to a doorknob.

2. As soon as you arrive home for the day seek out your partner and offer a big, loving kiss. Tell your partner how much you love him or her and ask about their day. Make this a new, daily habit.

3. As an alternate idea, when your partner arrives home for the day, take their hand and pull them towards you aggressively. Offer a huge hug, kiss and say, “I missed you today!”

Day 2:

4. While your partner showers, heat up his or her towel in the dryer.

5. Have flowers delivered to partner at work.

6. Surprise your partner by arriving home with their favorite drink, snack, or ice-cream.

Day 3:

7. Arrange for an intimate lunch date with your partner.

8. Afterward, send a virtual card. Tell them how much you enjoyed lunch together.

Day 4:

9. Call your partner in the middle of the day to discuss your romantic plans for that evening.

10. Print out some love coupons (find them on-line) and present them to your partner.

One might say: this entitles loved one to a full-body massage, and sign your name.

Day 5:

11. For the kid in all of us! Use multi-colored, sidewalk chalk to draw a BIG heart in red and write. Print out the words, “I love you” in the middle of the heart. Do this someplace that is prominent such as on your driveway so that when your partner comes home he or she will see it.

12. Cook a favorite meal for your partner and then eat it, slowly, by candlelight.

Day 6:

13. When the weather is best, take a brisk walk through a nature trail with your love and talk about all the reasons why he or she is so special to you.

14. If the weather is dreary, have an indoor picnic. Spend the time together, inside enjoying your favorite board games and just relaxing and talking.

15. Cuddle up in your pj’s and relish a romantic movie together.

Day 7:

16. Just sleep in and cuddle together. Call into work and explain you are “under the weather” and need to rest a bit more before coming in.

17. Make a long list of the many reasons why you love your partner as you do and then have them framed and present it to him or her.

18. If you don’t live together, call your loved one just to say goodnight. Recite a favorite love poem over the phone and end with, “Sweet dreams, until we meet again!”

What can you do this week to romance your loved one?

 

40 Days to a Mind Blowing Marriage! December 28, 2009

It’s time we came clean with how we find ourselves writing this blog and even talking about marriage.  It all started back in August 2008.  Tony and I were about to lead a small group on intimacy and had stumbled across an interview with two couples who had done what would seem virtually impossible.  Chandra Mueller had offered her husband 365 nights of intimacy for his 40th birthday and Douglas and Annie Brown had had sex for 101 nights.  As we are watching these interviews on the computer I’m thinking to myself that these women are NUTS!!!!! I make sure to verbalize this to Tony so that he doesn’t get any crazy ideas.

I’m glad I verbalized my thoughts to Tony, but having been married to him for 11 years I expected something.  He didn’t disappoint me.  The next day he threw it out there.  “Hey Alis, what if we were intimate (make love/have sex) every night for the next two months while we lead our small group?”

NO WAY.

Tony loves throwing ideas out there and this was one I didn’t have to or want to think about it.  There was no way I was going to say yes to be intimate with him every night for the next 60 days.  We probably made love once a week, maybe twice if we were lucky, and now he wanted to make love every day.  No thank you, good night.

That night, as I laid there in bed reading, my mind was working overtime.   I was actually kind of intrigued by the idea.  The “What IF’s” kept coming up.

What if we did this?

What if I enjoyed it?

What if I said yes?

How would this work?

Could I do this?

At the time (September and October 2008) we had a 5 year old and a 2 year old, Tony had his business obligations, we were involved in our church and our many other activities from volunteering to sports.

Would I like it? Don’t get me wrong here I enjoy being intimate with my husband, but would it still be good day after day after day for 60 days?  I didn’t want to lose the special connection just because we were trying to make love for 60 daysl.

Here’s the big ONE…Was I willing to give up my excuses (I’m tired, it’s been a long day, I don’t feel like it, etc.) and commit to saying YES every day? I’m sure every husband reading this is probably thinking that this would be the ultimate gift.  However, I had become very comfortable controlling the frequency of sex in our marriage.  If I was in the mood for it then we would make love, otherwise sorry.  Was I willing to relinquish that power I had over our sexual intimacy?

The evening after Tony asked, “What if we were intimate every night for the two months while we lead our small group?”, I told Tony the one word that will forever change our marriage, “YES”.  And then he said one of the craziest things I have ever heard…

What do you think he said?

 

It Takes Two December 21, 2009

It takes two to make a thing go right
It takes two to make it outta sight

~Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock

What’s the key to a successful marriage? It takes a willingness on the part of both spouses to do those things that we often let go by the wayside or allow to become not so important. Read through the helpful tips below on how to make your relationship extraordinary.

1. Without quality time together, your relationship will not survive. Aim to devote at least half an hour a night, and at least one day a month when the two of you spend time exclusively together.  We like to take time before going to bed to unwind and connect.  With 2 kids this is a perfect time for us.

Each month we have a date night on the calendar, usually the first Friday of the month.  This is our night to dress up, try a new restaurant, and take a drive along the coast.

2. Money is one of the top conflicts between most couples. For the relationship to work, you need to address your finances and maybe even work out a budget.  We’ve come from the depths of debt. We amassed over $50,000 in consumer debt and are now debt free.  We’ll blog more on this in an upcoming post.  Check out Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace.

3. Communication is vital to all healthy relationships. Listen to your partner and avoid blame and judgment. Don’t let your emotions dictate your behavior. Talking things over can help you to both have a deeper understanding of each other.  Are you having trouble getting the conversation started?  Check out Three Questions to get the Conversation Started to help you out.

4. Sort out your sex life. For most of us, it’s probably not what it used to be.  It’s time to recapture the passion.  Maybe one of you prefers more sex than the other. Why not experiment with new ideas in the bedroom?  Try new positions, new locations (outside of the bedroom), use oils, and/or set the mood with candles.  Whatever you decide, remember it has to be comfortable for both of you-talk about it.

5. Learn to forgive.  One of the hardest things to do in any relationship is to let go of past hurts.  Remember that holding onto the anger and resentment does not improve your relationship with your spouse but further isolates you from each other.   Making the decision to forgive gives you power and freedom over the situation.  While it is not easy and takes time choosing to forgive can have a profound effect on your marriage. What does the Bible say about forgiveness?

6. Remember that going to a marriage coach is not a sign of a failed relationship but rather an indication that you want to make things work.  Seeking help can turn a bad relationship around and can also turn an average relationship into an excellent one. More and more couples are turning to coaching today; it shows you are both prepared to try and make things better, which can’t be a bad thing at all.

It takes 100% commitment from both of you. However, healthy and long-lasting marriages are achievable and many couples have proven just that. Not everything is always going to be perfect but if you both choose to make it work then it can. And remember it’s the little things that you sometimes do that can go a long way to making your relationship work.

 

On an Island… December 15, 2009

Filed under: marriage,Spirituality — Tony & Alisa @ 9:35 am
Tags: , , , ,

Are you on an island?

Close your eyes and think of your favorite island.  Where is it?  What memories do you have of your time there?  White sandy beaches, fruity drinks, and the smell of the ocean.  An island is a marvelous place where the sun is shinning, the surf is fantastic, and the sunsets are gorgeous.  My most memorable island experience was when I got to spend 3-weeks on the big island of Hawaii. Nothing short of amazing.

The island I’m talking about in this post doesn’t resemble the perfect island experience.  I’m going to talk about the isolation island. That island we are on when something bad happens in our lives.  We have an argument with our spouse, lose a child, have severe financial issues, etc.  In our mind we are the only one going through such an issue even with 6.6 billion people on the planet. Joy, love, and happiness is happening all around us, but we are isolated and alone.

Alisa and I have been on such an island.

On December 14th, 2004 we lost our second child, Andrew, when Alisa miscarried at 18-weeks.  It was a low and dark day for the both of us.  The joy and anticipation of a child had been stripped from us.  Friends and family were around to support us during this difficult time, but we were alone, separated from our Heavenly Father, wondering why us?  The days, weeks, and months that followed were some of the toughest in our marriage.  Alisa and I had difficulty talking, being around each other, or even parenting.  We went through the motions of marriage and parenthood, but the fog was so thick we couldn’t see. The pain was deep.  I stuffed it away so as to not have to deal with it.  Alisa went into a mild depression.  We should have sought help, counseling, therapy, something, but didn’t.  Instead we did nothing.  We existed in a house together, but that was about it. Satan had us where he wanted us, alone, secluded, and afraid.  We were on an island.

The old adage that time will heal a broken heart is true in this case.  We needed time to process the loss, but we also needed time to get back on track with our marriage.  A couple of months after the loss of Andrew, Alisa and I made the decisions to get off that island.  It was tough, but we began by sharing our hurts and pains, listening to one another, and encouraging each other to be the best person we could be.  It worked-slowly.  On November 29th, 2005 the joy and happiness returned when a beautiful baby girl was born.

It’s time to get off your island and experience the fullness your marriage has for you.   Make the effort to connect with your spouse even though it is tough.  Recognize that whatever is causing the isolation is not going to go away with the snap of your fingers you are going to have to put forth effort to rekindle the spark, the enthusiasm for your marriage.  Now is the time to get in the boat and start paddling toward a brighter marriage.

What’s your isolation island?  Are you ready to leave it?

 

Bumps in the road November 24, 2009

Filed under: Communication,intimacy,marriage — Tony & Alisa @ 9:58 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I am not perfect and this time of year usually magnifies those flaws.

Between Thanksgiving (at our house) and Christmas we have both kids birthdays and the anniversary of the death of our second son on top of all of the usual holiday “stuff”.  I am one of those people  who tend to shut down when things get to be too much and that happened just a couple of days ago.  My multitasking was not going as well as I would have liked and I was starting to drop those balls that I typically juggle so well.

It all came to a head on Sunday night when Tony said the dreaded words “I think we need to talk”.  Now, I don’t care who you are hearing those words is usually not a good thing and this was one of those times.  We sat on the couch, I didn’t even want to look at him, as we attempted to work our way through what was heavy on my heart.  My first reaction was to sit there, in silence, take in what he had to say, parrot back to him the “right” answers and move on.  But you know what, this time I fought that urge, I resisted being flippant and I took the time to listen, truly listen to the pain that I was causing my husband and my marriage.  I allowed myself to be vulnerable to my husband and I deeply appreciated his sentiment that he was not going to “give up on me”-ironic because that had been the topic of Pastor Harry’s sermon just that morning.

Why do I share this with you?  Because on the outside you can’t always tell what is going on with someone or with their marriage.  Because even good relationships hit bumps in the road.  Because you can learn new behaviors to overcome the ones that have been a problem in the past.  Because when you are married to someone who is not willing to give up on you, you have to make the extra effort to grow that marriage, to make it truly extraordinary.

What do you and your spouse need to talk about today?

Alisa

 

No Turn on Red November 16, 2009

Filed under: General — Tony & Alisa @ 10:16 pm
Tags: , , , ,

It was a warm San Diego day.  One of those days when I had the radio blaring, the windows down as the wind rushed over my face, and just enjoying life.  As I exited the freeway I stopped at the turn signal, made my right hand turn and as I did the flashing lights from an police offices car caught my attention.   What did I do?  My heart was beating fast and my breath was shallow.  It was a deer in the headlight moment.  As I looked through my windshield I realized that I had made the cardinal NO TURN ON RED mistake.  Darn it!!!  From flying on the clouds to reality in 0.1 seconds. The officer turned on the siren for good measure as I pulled over.  As he walked up to my window I had a couple of choices to make, tell the truth or lie to try and get out of it?  I handed him my license and insurance card while letting him know that I missed the very large NO TURN ON RED sign. Sitting there waiting for the officer to return the only thing I could think about was how much is this going to cost me?  Have you been here before? Time dragged on as I sat there waiting for my ticket.  The officer returned, but instead of a ticket he gave me a warning.

There are times in our married lives when we take a NO TURN ON RED. Maybe viewing pornography, hiding a credit card from your spouse, lying about your whereabouts, or texting a co-worker of the opposite sex too much.  These behaviors drive a wedge between us and our spouse.  And then one day when we are flying high you have a NO TURN ON RED moment, not on the road, but at home.  We get caught!  The lights are flashing, our heart begins to beat faster, as our breath becomes shallow, and we realize that we’ve made a mistake.  We’ve hurt the one we love the most.

At this moment you have a choice, lie or tell the truth.  I have had to make that choice on the road and at home.  The times I’ve been up front and honest with Alisa have stretched me and helped us grow in our marriage.  It’s like a warning from the police officer.  You don’t pay a fine or go to court, but you get a second chance at making it right.

What’s your NO TURN ON RED moment?

Tony

 

So…Who are we? November 10, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tony & Alisa @ 9:36 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Simple answer-Tony & Alisa DiLorenzo.

Married for almost 13 years, together for 15.  Two kids.  Self employed.

The more difficult answer to that question is that we are very much just like you.  We are a “normal” couple, we have the kids, the mortgage, monthly bills and commitments to church, family, friends, school and other activities.  We have many hobbies:  Tony is an avid road cyclist and Alisa enjoys scrapbooking, photography and cooking.

We are a couple who has and who continues to weather this amazing experience called marriage.  We have learned that marriage is not for the faint of heart-it requires incredible amounts of effort, planning and old fashioned hard work.  We have survived addiction to pornography, enormous debt, child loss, business start-up, a spouse hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (Tony was gone for 138 days) and the day-to-day trials of being married to someone who has their own quirks that sometimes make us CRAZY.

And we can honestly say that after all of this time our marriage is stronger then it ever has been and our sex life has gotten better over the years.   We will talk more on that soon…

Thank you for being a part of our story.

Alisa